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Byun, K, Kim, TK, Oh, J, Bayarsaikhan, E, Kim, D, Lee, MY, Pack, CG, Hwang, D and Lee, B (2013) Heat shock instructs hESCs to exit from the self-renewal program through negative regulation of OCT4 by SAPK/JNK and HSF1 pathway. Stem Cell Res 11:1323-1334


Environmental factors affect self-renewal of stem cells by modulating the components of self-renewal networks. Heat shock, an environmental factor, induces heat shock factors (HSFs), which up-regulate stress response-related genes. However, the link of heat shock to self-renewal of stem cells has not been elucidated yet. Here, we present the direct link of heat shock to a core stem cell regulator, OCT4, in the self-renewal network through SAPK/JNK and HSF1 pathway. We first showed that heat shock initiated differentiation of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). Gene expression analysis revealed that heat shock increased the expression of many genes involved in cellular processes related to differentiation of stem cells. We then examined the effects of HSFs induced by heat shock on core self-renewal factors. Among HSFs, heat shock induced mainly HSF1 in hESCs. The HSF1 repressed the expression of OCT4, leading to the differentiation of hESCs and the above differentiation-related gene expression change. We further examined the effects of the upstream MAP (mitogen-activated protein) kinases of HSF1 on the repression of OCT4 expression by HSF1. Among the MAP kinases, SAPK/JNK controlled predominantly the repression of the OCT4 expression by HSF1. The direct link of heat shock to the core self-renewal regulator through SAPK/JNK and HSF1 provides a fundamental basis for understanding the effect of heat and other stresses involving activation of HSF1 on the self-renewal program and further controlling differentiation of hESCs in a broad spectrum of stem cell applications using these stresses.


PubMed Online version:10.1016/j.scr.2013.08.014




Gene product Qualifier GO Term Evidence Code with/from Aspect Extension Notes Status


GO:0000165: MAPK cascade



Figure 5E. Shows OCT4 activity increase when SAPK/JNK is inhibited

CACAO 8844

See also


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